In every organization, there are different collective behaviors that are upheld. These behaviors form the characteristics of that organization. Such behaviors are influenced by the different meanings attached to certain actions from one company to the other. They include the organization’s values, norms, visions, language used in the organization, symbols depicting different meanings, habits, beliefs among other things (Bligh, 2006). Organisational cultures are patterns taught to new employees as they join the organization to help them perceive, feel, and think in a particular way that defines the organization (Bligh, 2006). These patterns are unique to individual organizations and they have a great impact on the interaction between the employees and their colleagues, their clients as well as the stakeholders.
In another definition, organizational culture is described as shared mental assumptions that influence interpretation and action within an organization (Mirza, 2013). Different organizations view things differently and different actions are interpreted differently depending on cultural behaviors in different companies. Organisational culture is greatly influenced by the management team. Therefore, it is possible to have conflicting organizational cultures in one organization based on different characteristics of managers of different departments. Organisational cultures may be beneficial to the company or in some cases detrimental. These cultures can cause positive or negative effects on the company’s performance depending on their influence on the working environment.
A few steps can be used to evaluate the culture of an organization. As Mirza (2013) documents, evaluating organizational cultures involves scrutinizing five of the most crucial aspects. First, one must look at the salary and compare the organization with other players in the same industry. This is to establish whether the organization is at par with the competitors in terms of remuneration with respect to the worth of employees (Mirza, 2013). Some organizations are known for the exploitation of their employees. In evaluating the organizational culture of a potential employer, prudence demands careful scrutiny of the organization’s reputation in terms of salaries and benefits. Nonetheless, in some instances, one can overlook the low salary in favour of other benefits such as experience or an environment that supports career growth (Mirza, 2013).
In evaluating organizational culture, it is imperative to consider facial development (Mirza, 2013). There are organizations that value improving their workers’ professional competence by initiating on-job training. This facilitates the employees’ professional development and influences growth within the organization as well as within the employees. Apart from improving and facilitating career development, professional development improves the interaction between the employees and the employers a factor that greatly contributes to the well-being of an organization. Thirdly, the physical environment of the location of the organization is paramount and can be helpful in scrutinizing organizational culture (Boylan, 2009). For instance, a well-maintained environment with beautiful flower beds and well-maintained fences sends a clear message to the outside world that the employer cares about things and people within and around the organization (Boylan, 2009).
An organization with broken cars laying all over the compound and a dirty environment on the other hand sends a clear message of neglect by the management. Hence, to evaluate an organization’s culture it is fundamental to identify its environmental conditions. Organizations that have created barriers for prospective employees to speak with the already existing employees should be approached with a lot of skepticism. Some companies have a bad reputation and they will do everything to prevent their bad organizational culture to be exposed in public. A company that is proud of its organizational culture will not have a problem exposing its reputation. Such organizations allow prospective employees to interact and ask current employees questions about the company. An organization that insists that potential workers cannot interact with the existing workers could be overworking or underpaying its employees. Another explanation for such barriers can only mean that the organizations working conditions are not conducive.
Lastly, it is important to establish the organization’s policy regarding promotion from within the company. An organization that does not present its employees with the opportunity to grow in their career in terms of promotions does not attract employees (Parker, 2000). Some organizations are characterized by corruption and other ethical issues such as nepotism which hinder growth and fair opportunities. Good organizations have clear procedures of promoting their employees and the procedures are done fairly (Parker, 2000).
Organisational cultural differences are a reflection of the differences in thinking and social interpretation of particular actions. Massive Dynamics is a company that deals with military weapons and is one of the largest companies in the industry. With regard to the products the company produces, one of the greatest cultures that it emphasizes to new employees is the culture of discretion. The company operates on very high levels of secrecy and employees in this organization appreciate the need for them to maintain discretion (Parker, 2000). The company is one the most successful business in the weapon industry and its employees are highly paid.
The company has benefits-policies that take care of its employee’s medical care and an active pension contribution scheme. Within the organization’s premises is a social hall furnished with indoor gaming equipment such as tennis and dartboard for recreation (Ravasi & Schultz, 2006). Each department has its own team for every game and every year the organization holds an interdepartmental tournament in all games. This creates a very harmonious environment for the interaction of workers and the employees in the organization. Other than creating good relations, it is a clear indication of a good organizational culture.
A company that does all this social activity shows that the employees are happy with their working environment. Contended workers will be able to work together in co-curricular activities and interact in team building (Ravasi & Schultz, 2006). The success of this organization is clearly an indication of good organizational culture. The working environment in massive dynamics is one of the best in the industry. Workers are offered free transport to their homes after a long working day and they are picked the next morning for work. Such an initiative creates an attachment and a sense of belonging to the organization which is a good thing for the growth of the organization (Ravasi & Schultz, 2006).
Massive Dynamics prides itself on offering professional development to its employees. Every year, workers of the organization are taken to seminars around the world for training in the manufacture of military weapons. The organization has on-job-training policies where employees receive more training while working, under the scholarship of the company. Such training increases their competence and helps in developing and nurturing talents within the organization (Ravasi & Schultz, 2006). The environment in the premises of the company is composed of high-tech buildings with elevators and security cameras all over the place. The gate is well protected and the procedure used to let in a non-authorized individual is very strict. This is a clear indication of how important the employees’ security and safety are to the organization.
The organization has put in place policies and action plans to help it cope with future uncertainty. For instance, the employees contribute on a monthly basis a certain amount of money that is preserved to help in case one of them is affected by natural catastrophes as it happened in Haiti. Workers in this organization do not pay their hospital bills as well as their immediate families in the event of an illness. The company takes care of the bills on behalf of its employees. In the company, individualism is not condoned (Trevino & Nelson, 2007). The culture of the organization is to collectively work together to achieve the best interest of the company. By observing the employees one can easily note the emotional dependence among them as the organization also shows responsibility.
Very clear policies are put in place to ensure gender equality is achieved in all departments at all times. In the organization, male and female workers are given equal opportunities to explore and improve their careers. The promotion of employees is not discriminating against the female gender although the business, in this case, is a male-dominated entity. The company exhibits great respect for gender equality and fair access to resources for all. The organization upholds a culture of fairness and gender parity a factor that has seen women grow into managerial positions over the years just like their male counterparts.
There are a number of models used to formulate organizational cultures. One of the best models to use is the organizational profile model which is divided into seven categories. These include innovation, stability, respect for people, outcome orientation, attention to detail, team orientation, and aggressiveness (Trevino & Nelson, 2007). This model does not concentrate on the effects of organizational culture on the performance of the company. On the contrary, the model focuses more on the interaction of individuals in the organization and their personalities in relation to the organizational culture. To identify the value of an employee, his or her value must be weighed against the organizational values in order to predict profitability (Trevino & Nelson, 2007).
An organization must have a clear mission statement that states and outlines the strategic intentions and goals for the company. In addition, the company must be open to change and career development to maintain relevance in the market. The world today is changing so fast, hence the need for adaptability to new ways of doing things. For a good organizational culture to be developed there has to be an all-inclusive environment. Listening to all the views raised by employees and implementing some of their ideas can help breed creativity in the organization. The best way of working in an organization is by engaging in team orientation and capability development (Trevino & Nelson, 2007).
Lastly, consistency in an organization is very important. Organisations build their reputation through consistent behaviour that becomes part of their organizational culture. Constantly working towards coordination and integration of different personalities helps to create positive organizational cultures. This model requires consistency in the creation of organizational cultures in order to achieve positive results. Of the two models in measuring organizational culture which are O’Reilly, Chatman & Caldwell’s model and Deal and Kennedy’s I recommend the former rather than the latter.
Bligh, M., C. (2006). Surviving Post-merger ‘Culture Clash’: Can Cultural Leadership Lessen the Casualties? Leadership, 2 (1), pp. 395 – 426.
Boylan, M. (2009). Basic ethics: Basic ethics in action (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
Mirza, S. (2013). How to evaluate organizational culture. Web.
Parker, M. (2000). Organizational Culture and Identity, London, UK: Sage.
Ravasi, D., & Schultz, M. (2006). Responding to organizational identity threats: exploring the role of organizational culture, Academy of Management Journal, 49 (3), pp. 433–458.
Trevino, L., K. & Nelson, K. A. (2007). Managing business ethics: Straight talk about how to do it right (4th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.